Category Archives: Author Interviews

Diane Dean White: A Writer’s Journey

Diane White Pic
Diane Dean White: Her Writing Journey

Writing has been an exciting journey, one I started early when I was in 6th grade and asked for a typewriter. I used an old black Royal manual, and found it a great release to type my feelings through poetry and short-stories. In high school, I took creative writing and continued to enjoy it. My dream to become a writer collided with reality and after graduating from business school and attending college; I worked as a secretary for several years at Michigan State University.

God has a way to bring us the desires of our hearts, and I answered an ad in the newspaper and accepted a job as a reporter. My children were young and we had just moved to a southern town. I made child-care arrangements and followed my dream. Well….some of it was dreamy. I loved doing feature stories and interviewing people, but police blotters, city council meetings and hard news didn’t do a lot to advance my creativity.

Returning to Michigan, I continued to do stringer work and ancestral history research, and writing donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations, while raising our three children. I wouldn’t trade those years of activities with the kids for anything. I enjoyed and prayed through every moment! Later they became the foundation for many of my stories…and the memories of those years will last forever.

Once you see your work in print and your by-line…it is something that forever stays with you, and like a flower that blooms year after year, those stories come out. Early in 2000 we’d made a move to South Carolina. Our children were grown and married and I started to write short stories that were released across the World Wide Web. They were fun and serious stories, and suddenly people from all over wrote to thank me, some could relate to my story and shared theirs. For several years I wrote, and many stories were picked up by magazines, books and in 2002 I decided to write a compilation of those stories and in 2004 a novel, Carolina in the Morning came out. Although I self-published and had book signings, television interviews, I loved going from our home to Charleston, SC to do research. I wasn’t part of a writing group at this time and didn’t know POV, back-story, weasel words…I knew how to tell a story because to date they’d all been short stories, and you tell a short story. In 2005, I started writing a weekly column for a Michigan-based magazine and continued to enjoy that until the bug hit me to do another novel. On a Summer Night was in the process when I joined ACFW and the Scribes. I proudly laid my chapters out for anyone to critique, and had a big awakening!! I was red-lined and my pages bled like crazy! I was insulted, embarrassed and hurt that people would say such things about my writing. I’d been published in many anthologies, books and magazines, including Japan. But, I wanted to rectify my writing problems and tried to grow tough skin (not always easy!) Thank goodness for the friends I made and those who went the extra mile to help me. I found I enjoyed critiquing others stories, and tried to be gentle with the authors, knowing how some authors came across to me!

Since then I’ve written several other books and my new book, This Side of Heaven is my favorite to date! I went through a roller coaster of emotions while dealing with what I felt God wanted portrayed in this small rural area of Georgia. Remember, we’d lived in Georgia in the late 70’s and I had many hidden feelings to share at some point. And although fiction, I found myself writing to music that brought tears that wouldn’t stop, rewriting to be sure I said what I felt God wanted portrayed, and enjoyed the romance between my lead characters, but also with an older aunt who reconnects with a former beau and an autumn romance blooms.

I think for many of us a story is something we have to write, whether for publication or self-satisfaction, but it’s in us and has to be lived out—to be seen in print. Each writer is different and we all take a different path on this journey to publication. Seek our Lord’s guidance above all things with the words you write. Regardless, your book genre—He’s the ultimate publisher and writer of your soul.

Check out Diane’s newest book, This Side of Heaven.

ThisSideofHeaven12- Diane D White“Only one more hurdle, and they were free to fall in love.”

Darlene arrives in rural Georgia with her two preschoolers to escape an abusive marriage. In hiding, the family struggles to adjust to a secretive life among the pecan trees and gardenias. Then comes an unexpected visit from a neighbor.

Detective Brett Gafee is married to his job and his community, and heir to large pecan orchards. Expectations of a loving relationship dwindle over the years, and he sets aside all thoughts of marriage. Then he introduces himself to Darlene.

Was it fate or the Lord that brought them together?

Darlene’s secret past keeps her at bay from both Brett and her feelings. Can she be true to her heart and to Brett? When the truth comes out, will Brett pick up the pieces, or will he walk away?

Enter to win a free e-book of This Side of Heaven by leaving a comment below!

Carrie Fancett Pagels: Writing Where You Live

We’ve all heard the advice, “Write what you know.” Have you considered, “Write where you live”? That’s part of what led to my novella, “The Steeplechase.”The Steeplechase cover A group of authors who’d contributed to the Christmas Traditions collection (a best seller on Amazon in anthologies still, six months after its release) decided to go in on another collection called “Love’s Sporting Chance.” Although I grew up in Michigan, I live in Hampton Roads, Virginia. When I was working on a trilogy of full-length novels set along the James River, I was intrigued by the history of hunts and of the steeplechase. In the 19th century there was an entire swath of horse race country in Virginia from Charles City toward northern Virginia. There are yet today hunt clubs (such as Queen Anne in Charles City) and horse farms along that corridor.

Given how dangerous a steeplechase can be, I wondered what would motivate a young woman to try to engage in this sport, which really didn’t get started until the last quarter of the 19th century. But I wanted my story set earlier. I’m fascinated by the changes that took place in this country during colonial and Early American years. Although some people refer to this time as Regency, we had quite a different outlook on things here in America than they did in England.

While researching, I’d learned that Anglican churches were often shuttered after the American Revolution, some not opening again until decades later, with the Episcopal church. I wondered, what if you had an Anglican priest who was an American. How might his family be treated? What would he do to support himself? What if his daughter was spurned as a possible mate because her father was considered aligned with the British because of the church?

That background helped me create Martha Osborne. I gave her a nasty English stepmother who has returned to England leaving Martha’s beloved little brother in a boarding school. Meanwhile, Phillip Paulson, who owns a horse farm, inadvertently becomes involved in a secret race between two prominent churches on the peninsula – Bruton Parish and Grace Episcopal. (My ancestors attended Grace in the early colonial days.)

If you get the chance to visit the Virginia peninsula, be sure to stop by Bruton Parish (located at the edge of Colonial Williamsburg) and Grace Episcopal (in Yorktown) where you can practically feel history come alive.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.Carrie headshot 2016

Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

Website: www.carriefancettpagels.com

Blogs: Overcoming With God and Colonial Quills

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Links to purchase:

Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (2nd edition, January 2016)

The Steeplechase (Forget-Me-Not Romances, February 2016)

Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican Book Group, June 2016)

The Substitute Bride: A Novella (October 2015)

The Christy Lumber Camp Series: Lilacs for Juliana (August, 2016), The Lumberjacks’ Ball (April, 2015), The Fruitcake Challenge (2014)

“Snowed In”, in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Guidepost Books (2013)

God’s Provision in Tough Times Lighthouse of the Carolinas (2013)

Connie Almony: The Deeper Stuff

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded Bio Pic Connie Almonyan Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. I asked her to give a little deeper insight into her newest book and this is what she had to say:

Around 20 years ago I watched Mel Gibson rescue his onscreen son from kidnappers when law enforcement could no longer help him. I’d just started reading Christian fiction and wondered how a Christian author might write this story. I’d also wondered how she could insert a little romance? I had no plans to be an author at the time, but the story of a pastor with a past swirled in my head—characters added, others subtracted, various settings—until I began to reveal bits to family. They marveled at the crazy churnings of my mind, but none of us believed I’d actually turn it into a book.

More than ten years later, after my daughter inspired me to get serious about writing, I still hadn’t planned to write this story. I published three completely new ones. Why? From a human perspective, I couldn’t tell you. From a Godly perspective, I believe He wanted it to marinate a little longer. Had I written it first, it would have been completely different, and missing many of the characters whose life experiences I’d yet to appreciate at a deeper level. The sweet, ten-year-old boy struggling with autism. The tattoo-laden, Harley-riding, elder of the church. The former dirt-track race car driver who, despite his hardened exterior, has stolen some reader’s hearts with his rarely-exposed kindnesses.

Though I’d planned to make the “pastor with a past” someone who’d grown up in a country-club lifestyle, I hadn’t planned to make his new best friend, and the man who brought him to Christ, his mechanic. Nor had I planned to make the church he led a “redneck church” until my cousin had affectionately given his own congregation that label, the one I’d come to see like home and family.

Connie Almony BookFlee from Evil is about forgiveness, redemption and the manifestation of Romans 8:28 where God can not only make bad things, that happen to a person, good. He can also use the bad things a person has done for His glory. It is also about the Body of Christ at work in all its vibrant colors, each different from the other, yet all necessary to form the whole.

Unlike the movie that inspired it, it is not just about a man who’d do anything for his child—as God has done for us. It’s about a God who can re-purpose the lowliest of lives and make them extraordinary!

Connie Almony is also the author of One Among Men and An Insignificant Life, about women who run dormitories at a major state university, and At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD. Watch out for more books in each of these series, as well as a multi-author book anthology coming Summer 2016.